Facebook wants to add a camera to your TV

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Facebook Portal
The Portal is Facebook’s first video calling product.
Photo: Facebook

Facebook is allegedly planning to take on Apple TV and Amazon’s Fire TV with a new set top box of its own.

The social network just debuted its new Portal smart speaker earlier this month and according to a new report its smart TV box could pack some similarly creepy features.

Why Apple’s plan to give away original TV shows is crazy like a fox

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Will Apple's weird plan to give away its TV shows make Netflix nervous?
Will Apple's weird plan to give away its TV shows make Netflix nervous?
Photo: Siniz Kim/Unsplash CC

After spending upward of $1 billion creating original TV shows, Apple apparently plans to give them away for free. That would certainly be a bold move as Apple muscles into original video production, but it might be the craziest idea ever.

Here are three reasons why it’s a smart strategy — and three more why it could backfire.

Senators want answers about alleged China spy chips

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This isn't actually Apple's data center, but it's close.
Recent report claimed that Apple's data center had been infiltrated by spy chips.
Photo: Pexels

It’s not yet clear how much veracity there is to the recent Bloomberg report claiming that companies, including Apple and Amazon, were sold data servers compromised by Chinese spies. However, a bipartisan pair of U.S. senators want answers from the manufacturer in question.

In a letter addressed to motherboard supplier Supermicro, senators Marco Rubio and Richard Blumenthal request the answers to eight queries. Here’s what they want to know:

Facebook wants to put a camera in your living room

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Facebook Portal
Portal is Facebook's answer to the Echo Show.
Photo: Facebook

Do you trust Facebook to put a camera and microphone in your living room? If not, you’ll want to avoid Portal, its new smart displays focused on video chat.

Portal and Portal Plus make it easy to keep in touch with friends and family when you can’t see them face-to-face in real life. They can also play music, stream video, and do anything Amazon Alexa can do.

Tim Cook made massive donation to keep Trump out of White House

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Cook
Tim Cook was an outspoken Hillary supporter.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Tim Cook fought harder than any other Apple employee to make sure Donald Trump didn’t become president.

A study of all the political donations made by Apple employees found that Tim Cook contributed more than any other employee to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election campaign with a $236,100 payment to the Hillary Victory Fund fundraising committee. Tim’s favoritism towards Democrats isn’t surprising, and the study found that an overwhelming majority of Apple employees are following his lead.

‘Highly plausible’ Apple servers could be infected with spy chips, says former Apple hardware engineer

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Instrumental founder and CEO Anna Katrina Shedletsky
Instrumental founder and CEO Anna Katrina Shedletsky, who is using her experience as an Apple product design engineer to bring AI to manufacturing.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Despite Apple’s denials, it’s “highly plausible” that secret spy chips could have been planted on the company’s servers, said a former Apple hardware engineer.

Anna-Katrina Shedletsky, who spent nearly six years at Apple helping build several generations of iPod, iPhone and Apple Watch, said spy chips could have been slipped into the design of servers used for Apple’s iCloud services, as alleged in a Bloomberg Businessweek story.

“With my knowledge of hardware design, it’s entirely plausible to me,” she said. “It’s very highly plausible to me, and that’s scary if you think about it.”

Apple denies its server hardware was infected by Chinese spy chips [Updated]

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This isn't actually Apple's data center, but it's close.
Did the chips really make it into Apple's data centers?
Photo: Pexels

Update: Apple and Amazon both issued lengthy statements Thursday concerning the Chinese spy chip allegations. We updated this post to include those statements.

Apple denies that Chinese spy chips infiltrated its iCloud server hardware after claims that motherboards used by Apple, Amazon and dozens of other tech companies contained microchips used for surveillance purposes.

Cupertino insists the story is “wrong and misinformed.” Apple also says Chinese spying had nothing to do with the company’s decision to cut ties with a supplier.

Apple tops Best Global Brands list for 6th consecutive year

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Apple hardware
Apple is way ahead of the competition in value.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Apple has topped Interbrand’s annual list of the Best Global Brands for the sixth consecutive year.

The iPhone-maker, which has seen its brand value increase 16 percent this year, ranked highly in consistency, engagement, and differentiation. It is followed by Google, while Amazon has quickly climbed into third place after its brand value increased an impressive 56 percent.

Tim Cook talks privacy, Alex Jones and China in new interview

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tim cook
Tim Cook says companies don't need access to your data.
Photo: Apple

Tim Cook went on the offensive toward competing companies like Amazon and Google in a new interview tonight on privacy.

Appearing on Vice News Tonight on HBO, the Apple CEO was asked if his company’s stance on privacy is stopping Siri from becoming more competitive with Alexa. Cook pushed back saying any company that says it needs all your data to make its service better is telling you a “bunch of bunk.”